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3 high-ranking AJC editors leave abruptly

Today's bound to be less exciting than last Friday was in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Marietta Street newsroom.

First, editor Julia Wallace announced that 73 newsroom staff members had taken a buyout as part of the paper's downsizing. Then, newsroom staff members were astounded by viewing bits and pieces of a personnel drama that ended with three high-ranking editors suddenly leaving the paper. (See update here.)

Robert Mashburn, a former sports editor whose most recent title was senior Sunday and planning editor, was seen quickly walking out of the building; according to staff members, he hasn't been back since. Virginia Lewis, a former features editor who most recently was planning editor for the digital department, and Chris Stanfield, who joined the AJC staff in 2004 as director of photography, also departed the paper.

Each of the three were high-ranking editors, described by one employee as among Wallace's "annointed ones." Mashburn's departure was particularly surprising